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What an Ombuds Does

Are you experiencing challenges or difficulties in the workplace? Are you searching for resources related to self or work and not sure where to look? Did you know the staff of Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and the Texas A&M University College of Engineering have a resource that can help with all of this and more?

Your staff ombuds serves as a neutral, independent and confidential resource who can help you with challenges such as:

  • Conflict with a colleague or supervisor.
  • Coaching on how to have a difficult conversation.
  • Identification of options to work toward a solution.

Established in 2015 and led by Todd Cottrell, the engineering staff ombuds office operates to serve the best interests of Texas A&M Engineering and its staff by providing impartial and objective assessment as a neutral party.

The ombuds serves as an advocate for fair administration of processes, but does not take sides on behalf of an individual or cause.

Engaging with the ombuds is done in a safe environment allowing staff to voice concerns, evaluate issues and identify options. In that, confidentiality and privacy are respected to the extent where additional individuals are to be involved to maintain a safe environment.

Areas of Service

  • Gather information and offer referrals to other resources.
  • Facilitate communication.
  • Identifies opportunities for systemic change for the organization and may make recommendations for institutional improvements.
  • Assists in directing individuals to appropriate Texas A&M Engineering and/or The Texas A&M University System office as it pertains to an issue.
  • Provides guidance in solving the issue.
  • Assist in conflict resolution at an informal level.
  • Refer individuals to formal grievance resources.
  • Provides assistance in conflict management and resolution.
  • Serve as a non-voting member of the Engineering Staff Advisory Council (ESAC).

Now Offering


The Birkman Method is a psychological assessment designed to reveal four key perspectives of every person: motivation, self-perception, social perception and mindset. Completion of this assessment, combined with a comprehensive analysis conducted by a certified facilitator, can help teams better understand the emotions and actions that drive their everyday interactions.

The goals for this strategy are to help team members:

  • Create psychological safety to discuss individual styles and get more team input.
  • Increase emotional intelligence by developing self and others awareness.
  • Meet individual expectations and manage unproductive stress behaviors.
  • Boost morale by bringing clarity to the team’s purpose in a way that resonates with each individual.
  • Identify and leverage strengths to facilitate collaboration and maximize performance.
  • Understand perceptual gaps to manage blind spots.

The Birkman Method is available upon request; contact Todd Cottrell for more information.

There is a cost for the assessment, but facilitated analysis is free.


Fierce Conversations is a methodology for engaging in conversations that count. What is discussed, how it is discussed and who is invited to the conversation determines what will happen and what won’t happen.

  • Foundations - A revolutionary approach to conversations that matter. Undo old assumptions, spark new insights and lay the groundwork for transformation across your organization.
  • Team - Make better decisions and solve tough problems together. This proven approach will shatter silos, increase collaboration and boost buy-in across your organization.
  • Coach - Get to the heart of the matter — and act on it — fast. Discover a powerful coaching model that uncovers solutions, prompts potent action and unblocks professional paths.
  • Confront - Come face to face with the truth. Learn a direct conversation model that shifts attitudes, reduces tension and enriches relationships.
  • Delegate - Grow leadership skills in your team. This is an approach that clarifies roles, ends micromanagement and puts people on a clear path of professional development.
  • Feedback - Precisely what you need to hear — and say. Transform your feedback sessions into candid, consistent, two-way conversations that spark lasting change.
  • Accountability - Count on a deeper level of commitment. Move teams from excuses to action: embracing responsibility, overcoming obstacles and achieving outsize goals.
  • Negotiations - Master the art of deal-making. Negotiating doesn’t have to be a struggle. Learn to expand thinking, examine competing perspectives and uncover solutions with this core Fierce program.

Fierce Conversations is available upon request; contact Todd Cottrell for more information.

There is a cost for the materials, but facilitation of the course(s) is free.